Pitcher and Spoons — Charcoal

This little pitcher came with our new home. I love to collect pitchers, especially little ones. I also love wooden spoons. So, I thought this would make a nifty little drawing. It is 10×12 on grey tinted pastel paper.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.

-- Edward Lear

Gypsy Man — Painting

I am finished. This is oils on a 16×24 MDF panel. This last couple of weeks I just looked at him and mulled him over in my mind. I had to make up a new palette this afternoon, when I finally came to the place where I could work on him again.

The painting was done from a photo by Pierre Gonnord.

(This photo is not of a gypsy, it is of a friend from Ohio who wore my purple scarf for a photo shoot for me. I just thought she looked a little like a gypsy, so I used the photo here.)

Gypsies have no boundaries. They have primitive, untamed personalities and “that look in their eyes.” — Karl Wiggins

Musing on Miscellany

Here is the latest update on Gypsy Man. I am working on him when I can, but it seems that when I get to thinking of getting in there and slinging some paint, something comes up. I need to scrape my palette and mix some more paint. My piles of paint have dried out. That is a downside to not getting in there often enough.

He is looking more gypsy-like, I think.

I have finished my Goodreads 2022 Reading Challenge. This was my first one. I didn’t have any idea how many books I could read in a year, so I chose to commit to reading 50 books. Well, I have read 51 so far and am working on two more. If any of you are on Goodreads, please look me up:


Looking back on my list of books that I have read, it is quite funny how varied they are: The beloved Mitford books; Louis L’amour; art books; diet books; L. M. Montgomery; Peter Mayle; Willa Cather; and even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Right now, I am in the process of reading a book called I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel and The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life by Sarah L. Kaufman. What are you reading right now?

Last night, we had a boomer of a thunder storm. After it was over, there was a beautiful light slanting across the kitchen. Mr. Beloved investigated and called me to look. What a lovely sight! I rushed for my camera and got a very unsatisfactory photo, but it was the best I could do:

I accidentally broke off a leaf from one of my African Violets a few weeks back. I stuck it in a glass of water just until I could pot it up properly so that I could propagate some new violets. I never got around to it, but I did keep it topped off with water. Well, after a little while, I noticed it was making roots. Very nice. After a little while more, I noticed a little leaf starting. I figured that if I didn’t get it out of there, soon, the leaf would just rot away. It has been about two weeks since I noticed the first little green leaf and this morning I noticed that it is a whole plant starting. Under water! It shows no sign of rotting. It has never been exposed to air. I think that is very nifty. I have GOT to get that thing properly planted! LOL!

Good news: Mr. Beloved has found a programming job. It is a contract to hire job, which is a new experience. But, after a year and a half, it is good to have the job. Publix has been good to him, but it is getting difficult doing so much of the physical labor of cleaning bathrooms, sweeping and mopping the entire store, collecting carts in the parking lot, etc. His new job is totally remote, from home, and he starts on the May 30. He is looking forward to the rest.

You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. — Hal Borland

Gourd and Apples

This is a gourd that we grew many years ago in our garden in Ohio. I grew quite a few and sold them at the farmer’s market or gave them away, but this one has been hanging around. At first, I wanted to paint it and make it a birdhouse. I have decided to leave it as it is. It is a very cooperative and beautiful model. The apples are Gala’s that I got from Publix. They were delicious, of course. Behind the gourd and apples is hanging a magnificent purple scarf that I received as a gift, one year, when I was working for NCR in Lake Mary, Florida, way back in the late 1980’s. It is such a beautiful scarf and such a lovely shade of purple that I use it quite often for photo shoots.

I am slowly working on my Gypsy Man oil painting.

Last night, I was taking the trash out after it rained and saw this. I took a quickie with my phone. I wish it looked as wonderful as it really was…

I chose the following poem because I was thinking of purple. This poem is very purple to me and seems to go with my purple scarf.

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

-- William Butler Yeats

Gypsy Man — Drawing

Well, it is finished. I actually ended up using charcoal and white pastel on this, so, technically, it is a mixed media piece of graphite, white charcoal (which is not really charcoal), regular black charcoal, and white soft pastel. He is a 12×16 drawing on toned pastel paper, smooth side.

Below is the reference photo that I used. I hate sharing the reference, because people (including me) compare every detail. I am not a copy machine and I don’t want to be, but I find myself stressing over the small stuff. If I don’t look at the reference, I can like the drawing for what it is and not what it is not. But, I felt led to share it, because I could not get in touch with the photographer. So, the reference photo, below, was taken by Pierrie Gonnord. You can find an article about him, here.

Now, to work on that painting…

Gipsy man, O gipsy man,
In your yellow caravan,
Up and down the world you go —
Tell me all the things you know!

Sun and moon and stars are bright,
Summer's green and winter's white,
And I'm the gayest gipsy man
That rides inside a caravan.

-- Dorothy King

Gypsy Man WIP

I am working on this painting that I am calling “Gypsy Man” for want of a better title. The photo was taken by Pierre Gonnord, a French photographer living in Spain. His photos reminded me of our own interactions with gypsies when we lived in Spain. One of these days I need to write a story about that. Well, I am working on a painting and a drawing at the same time. The painting is a little larger than life-size. The drawing a little smaller. I am really struggling with it. But, hey! Don’t I struggle with everything! LOL! Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that, yes, I am still working on art. Just very slowly.

The charcoal sketch on a 16×24 gessoed MDF panel. I tried to mix some burnt umber into the gesso and it was too dry to actually mix into it, so when I applied it, the burnt umber was in lumps and smeared onto the panel. LOL! It looks like woodgrain. Oh, well. It works. It will be covered with paint.
A half of a first paint layer. I loved the charcoal sketch so much that I was afraid to put the paint over it. It was hard. But, I think I will like it in the end.
I loved the charcoal sketch so much that I decided to work on a graphite portrait of the same man at the same time.
Slowly but surely. It helps me to have the eyes done quickly. I don’t know why. They are not completely done, but enough to make a difference.

I must confess that I am a little shy of showing my process. I am of the same feeling as Norman Rockwell. He said that he could never work with someone watching. Me, too! It just about locks me up. This last time that I was painting outdoors with people going by, I didn’t accomplish a thing.

Well, back to the ol’ drawing board…

I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing. — Francis Ford Coppola

A Drink of Water

Momma. Graphite and white charcoal on tinted paper. 12×16

Bedtime was eight and, as I lay there in the dark, I listened to Daddy play the guitar. Momma was in the kitchen. The boys were probably fast asleep after a day of perpetual movement. “Momma!” I yelled with sudden inspiration.

“Yes?” I heard her voice from the far reaches of our military housing in Germany. We lived in a nice apartment with army-issued furniture. The sound of her voice echoed slightly, but it was still a beautiful comfort to me. “Yes?”

“I want a drink of water!” I don’t remember ever asking for a drink of water when I was in bed, before. Maybe I just needed to see her face and hear her voice one more time before I went to sleep.

“Just a minute” she said from the kitchen.

When she did not immediately appear, I yelled again. Perhaps she heard a little note of fearful desperation in my voice. She came quickly and found me sitting wide-eyed in the bed. She stopped in the doorway and smiled. “A minute is when you slowly count to 60.” Then she returned to the kitchen.

I slowly counted and she was back with my water before I got to 60. I drank. She rubbed my back. I handed her the glass. She kissed me, hugged me, tucked me in, told me she loved me, and left.

I slept.

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. — Victor Hugo

A Breakfast Show

The sun was lying gently on the water tower and the trees as I stirred my little pot of morning oats and gazed out the kitchen window. Just as the peak of the roof across the street got its kiss of light, an impatient and hurried white-haired fellow hove into view with his two little dogs, as he does every morning. One appeared to be a chihuahua and the other seemed to be a wonderful mix of schnauzer and dachshund with the most comical walk. He had such short legs that he looked to be in a desperate hurry, which must have gratified his hasty human companion. As the man and his beasts tramped the street, a crow was languishing in their path. The dogs were willing to engage said crow, however their master would have none of that. He took his usual position of quickly walking toward his destination, which I presumed must be home, coffee, and breakfast. He looked neither to the right nor to the left. As they progressed, the crow lifted himself up and slowly landed upon a post in a yard to their left, mocking and scorning with all his might, to the infinite frustration of the little doggies. In no time at all, Master yanked the leashes and poured forth a lecture on the evils of pulling. The dogs very politely and earnestly gave ear to their beloved and, immediately upon resuming their walk, were dive-bombed by the naughty crow. Whereupon, pulling commenced with as great a force as two miniscule canines could accomplish. Master, appearing to realize the futility of trying to stop the wild behavior of his charges, set his face like a flint and headed for home with the two warriors flailing at the ends of their leashes and the crow making their lives miserable. As they disappeared around the bend, I smiled and longed for my own dearly departed doggy. I dished up my oatmeal, sat at the table, and watched out the window for the next dog and pony show.

The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth will ever be. — Konrad Lorenz

The Heavens Declare…

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. — Psalm 19:1

This is the landscape that I am the happiest with in my entire artist career. My spirit lifts when I look at it. I have always been easily overwhelmed by the bigness of creation. I remember coming around a curve on the interstate in West Virginia once, years ago, and being confronted with mountains and bursting into tears and praises. I can also be overwhelmed by the minutiae. I have been known to burst forth into song over the luscious juicy experience of eating a ripe peach warm from the tree. I wish I could glorify God with my art better than I do. He is so beautiful!

The Heavens Declare The Glory of God. Oils on 16×24 panel, $525.

The highest glory of the creature is in being only a vessel, to receive and enjoy and show forth the glory of God. It can do this only as it is willing to be nothing in itself, that God may be all. Water always fills first the lowest places. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the speedier and the fuller will be the inflow of the divine glory. — Andrew Murray

Maaah the Ewe

We just recently watched the movie “Babe”, again, for the umpteenth time. I love everything about that movie. I love everything about that farm. I love the colors, the design, the story, the characters. I want to be just like Mrs. Hoggett when I grow up. LOL! Maaah is one of my favorite characters. (They are all my favorites.)

Maaah the Ewe. Oils on 8×10 canvas, $250.

In my early 20s, a friend and I worked for a few months on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Working with ewes, I learned a lot about the power of wool – how it keeps you cool when you’re hot, warm when you’re cold, dry when you’re wet. — Anthony Doerr